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China threatens US with tariffs, says 'not afraid of war'

29 Marcha 2018, 07:35 | Benedicto Grullon

China hits back at Trump, announces retaliatory tariffs on $3bn of US goods

Trump eyes more tariffs on Chinese goods

China's response could influence President Xi Jinping's standing in the country.

China's commerce ministry warned that a 15 percent tariff on 120 goods worth nearly $1 billion - including fresh fruit, nuts and wine - would be imposed if the US fails to reach a "trade compensation agreement" within an unspecified time frame.

Farmers, electronics retailers and other USA businesses are bracing for a backlash as President Donald Trump targets China for stealing American technology or pressuring US companies to hand it over.

China could hit back hard at Donald Trump's new tariffs by targeting agricultural goods and other products from states that voted for the U.S. president.

The EU leaders had been set to run through a list of potential counter-tariffs against USA products, including Kentucky bourbon (from the home state of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell) and motorcycles (significant because Harley Davidson is based in Wisconsin, the home state of House Speaker Paul Ryan).

Why has Trump taken such a step?

"China appears to be breaking WTO rules by denying foreign patent holders, including USA companies, basic patent rights to stop a Chinese entity from using the technology after a licensing contract ends", said the USTR in its statement. -China Business Council, which represents American companies that do business with China.

Trump has long blamed unfair Chinese trade practices for the ballooning trade deficit with China, which reached a record $375 billion (pdf) past year. "If a trade war were initiated by the United States, China would fight to the end to defend its own legitimate interests with all necessary measures".

"They are helping us a lot in North Korea", Trump said. This is a multilateral effort, involving the European Union and Japan, and it would be made more hard by the unilateral rule-bending (or -breaking) that the Trump administration is proposing.

"Essentially, what this comes down to is that these tariffs are targeting just one country: China", said Halkett.

Will this affect other countries like India? Business groups complain it will hamper or outright block foreign access to those industries. A second group of eight product lines worth about $2 billion in value, including pork and recycled aluminum, will face a 25% tariff.

President Donald Trump has taken the first step in imposing tariffs on almost $50 billion worth of Chinese imports.

"We have a tremendous intellectual property theft problem", Trump said.

The Chinese embassy in Washington said that China "has demonstrated sincerity in making reasonable suggestions to the U.S., and has made great efforts to address the current trade imbalance between China and the USA". Past actions have covered steel, aluminum, washing machines and solar panels. Now some people would say it's really $375 billion.

Trump's technology order is in response to "unfair and harmful acquisition of U.S. technology", said a statement by the U.S. Trade Representative's office.

Starting a trade war, however, is another matter entirely.

That list will include aerospace, information and communication technology, and machinery, according to a USTR fact sheet.

Russian Federation said the new tariffs exceed the bound rates the US had committed to under WTO rules. Then he announced the steel and aluminum tariffs, saying reliance on imported metals jeopardizes USA national security.

The Global Times suggested that China could also restrict the number of Chinese students going to USA universities.

Manufacturing would be opened up to foreign investors with no requirement for technology transfer, Li said, addressing a long-time sore point for foreign companies. However, Chinese officials already insist companies aren't required to hand over technology, so it was unclear how policy might change.



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